Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) vs Pay Per Click (PPC)

There is a question that is asked quite frequently among business owners looking to increase their popularity on the World Wide Web, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Pay Per Click (PPC)? The answer to this question is so deep-rooted that no generic answer will suffice. The best answer is that the choice depends on the position of your business and what your requirements from the two different marketing strategies are. It also depends on the kind of marketplace that you have and how other players in the same market are advertising themselves.

The following is a comparison of SEO and PPC, pros and cons, so that you may decide which option would best suit your organisation.

This is an image of an SEO agency in the Sunshine Coast


SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. In order to make your page more popular or easier to find on the search engines you have to rely on keywords. Keywords in this case means those words that people regularly type in while searching on the search engines. To promote your organisation’s website via SEO you need to have keywords on your website so that your page appears among the top pages in the search engine.

Pros of SEO

SEO promotes brand awareness

SEO increases the visibility of your website to your potential customers. It has the same effect of advertising your products and the result is increased brand awareness among your potential customers. The increased visibility of your brand can also help reinforce your brand. Your brand, courtesy of its visibility, can gain popularity among people searching for a particular item and the eventual result could be a purchase or sale.

SEO reinforces the credibility of your brand

Effective SEO means that your website’s rankings occur organically. Most internet users have been shown to actively skip the ads on search engine results pages (SERPs) and instead open the organically positioned websites because they feel like these organic sites are more credible. So, because you have the trust factor in your favour, there is a greater likelihood that the potential customer will click through on your website due to your organic listing.

It is much cheaper than PPC

Although it might cost you some money and time in order to develop visibility of your website online, once you have established this you have very little maintenance costs. There are no charges per click to your website as compared to PPC where you are charged per click regardless of whether the user actually bought anything.

Higher returns from the initial investment

The ROI from SEO is potentially an improvement on the ‘return on investment’ from the more traditional methods of marketing such as mass media. SEO will definitely feature higher ROI than PPC.


This is not to mean that SEO is cheap or easy for that matter. It takes a lot of time and effort as well as money to gain visibility online that puts your website on the front page of the SERPs. However, it is definitely the most economical method of product advertising.

Image of branded SEO company Search Domination

Cons of SEO

Traffic could be slow and quite difficult to get. In case you are just starting out your online venture and the market that you live in is dominated by internet titans like eBay or Amazon, you may get very little traffic and it may take months to get to the top of page one where you will experience large amounts of traffic to your site.

Many businesses lack the know-how and the resources to be able to effectively rank their website at the top of the SERPs.  There are a small percentage of very good SEOs that provide consistent rankings.

Further, ranking at number one doesn’t guarantee that your website will convert traffic into actual purchases or sales.  Your website’s landing page, often the home page, needs to be designed in such a way that it results in high conversion.  The below video outlines a successful formula used by many successful online marketing professionals to create high converting web pages.


PPC means Pay Per Click. For this service, the company has to pay a certain amount each time the link to the website is clicked. And although people prefer to click on organic searches, there are reasons why PPC could come in handy for a company.

Pros of PPC

Constant assured visibility

The potential customers will always see the ads on their device regardless of whether they scroll past them or not.

Easier for marketing

Paid Ads are advertisements essentially. As such you can choose a range of information to include in them such as ‘call to actions’, ‘keyword phrases’, ‘site link extensions’ and ‘special offers’.  In addition, you are able to tailor the information you want on the landing page to suit your Ads information or offer.

Visual advertisements

Google also gives you the option of having display ads or shopping ads. You can, therefore, place a picture of the product that you want to advertise. The potential buyer can, then, have a visual of what they are potentially buying. This feature cannot be seen in SEO thus giving PPC an advantage.

Target accuracy

A PPC campaign can target a specific audience and therefore can ensure that you get seen by the right people looking to make a purchase. This type of visibility can often pay off in the end. Paid ads also have more ways of targeting their audience, such as by location as well as time of the week, as compared to an SEO campaign, making it more accurate.

It is faster to develop

SEO content development can take time in order to make it more accurate and visible. And this process is not cheap either. With PPC, however, the content development has already occurred and a campaign can be created in a matter of hours.

Cost effective

Despite the common narrative, a well set-up and managed PPC can actually cost you quite little. If you operate in a field with few keywords you can find your PPC costs to be quite low. You can also set a maximum daily budget in order to manage your overall spend.

Cons of PPC

If you are targeting highly competitive keyword phrases hour daily budget can be used up quite quickly.

PPC requires constant investment.  As soon as you stop advertising you disappear from the search engine results.

Bidding wars with other investors are common and this can increase your advertisement costs and impact on the PPC campaign’s effectiveness.

PPC management requires a high-level of skill and knowledge in the area of Adwords, keyword research and PPC processes.  If you are outsourcing this to a quality PPC management digital marketing company you will be paying them an upfront and ongoing management fee.


The question of which to choose between SEO and PPC is impossible to answer without making a consideration of the exact circumstances of the business. A small business operating locally in a field with few keywords could do well with organic SEO. A huge e-commerce company selling products on Amazon will struggle with SEO at least initially so PPC would be a better approach. An extensive evaluation of the respective company needs to be made so that the most appropriate strategy, or strategies, can be identified.

Search Domination is a digital marketing agency specialising in both SEO and PPC management services.